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New MRU policy restricts student transfer credits

Some Mount Royal University (MRU) students may not apply transfer credits to the last year of their program, leaving would-be grads in a lurch.

The school said, however, that transfer credits can still be sought, there’s just additional criteria for their approval.

Transfer credits are an option for students to enrol in courses in other accredited post-secondary schools. A portion of the credits can be applied to their studies at MRU.

Students must acquire a Letter of Permission (LOP) before applying to the transfer program, according to MRU rules.

The new, unannounced policy came into effect in May. It comes as a shock to MRU students hoping to get credits while studying elsewhere in their final year.

Francine Nelson, is a third-year child studies undergrad student at MRU. She was surprised to discover this new policy was unknowingly affecting the transfer credits for which she’d applied.

Students might be delayed in their graduation

Francine Nelson was deeply concerned her graduation plans were put on hold by MRU’s new policy. Photo by: FRANCINE NELSON

As Nelson heads into her last year of school, her hope was to take some online summer classes at the University of Athabasca to graduate within four years.

She then received an email from MRU’s Office of The Registrar. It said she couldn’t apply for the transfer credits she wanted.

“Students may not apply transfer credit to the last year of their program. This is a new policy that went into effect this May. I will have to deny your request in the queue,” the email reads.

When Nelson asked for the reason behind the denial, MRU said students can “run into issues outside of MRU’s control.”

“In my experience, students using transfer credits in their last year can and often do run into issues outside of MRU’s control which delays their graduation date,” the email reads.

“One reason this new policy was put in place is to help the graduation evaluation process go more smoothly for students.”

Nelson then reached out to her academic advisor to confirm the new policy and for support. According to the email, Nelson’s academic advisor was also unaware of the changes.

“If it’s a new process then the advisors should have been told immediately so we can let our students know,” the advisor said in the email exchange.

“Or at least have a grace period to allow some transition time to plan accordingly.”

The advisor went on to say that she was concerned by the policy change. The advisor said they’re not the only MRU staff that shared Nelson’s worries.

“I am going to bat for you and anyone else that is being denied. Just so you know I am not alone with these concerns, there’s a number of us,” the advisor said.

MRU said credits are still available

This new policy is not displayed on any information boards and is unknown to many students and faculty.

A statement from MRU said that transfer credits are still available and many LOPs have been sent out. What’s changed, an email read, is that there are additional criteria for an LOP’s approval, “which many students will still meet.”

Phil Warsaba, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, provided a statement addressing why the new policy change was implemented.

“Over the past couple of years, we have added 10,000 spaces in sought-after classes so students can take these courses and complete their degree at Mount Royal,” he said.

“Given these changes, we are now aligning our criteria for letters of permission to be more in line with other Canadian institutions.”